Previously: Starfield is a Really Bad Game
I actually got a backlash from my review of Starfield. In particular, people focused on the fact that I’d only played 2-3 hours of the game, and claimed that I couldn’t judge it based on that playtime.
On some level, that is a fair enough criticism. What I will say, however, is that none of my own criticisms of the game could change upon playing the game more. The graphics and mechanics are not going to get better, the writing is not going to get better, the voice acting is not going to get better, the “very retro” stale feel of the game is not going to get better. Uncanny valley brown people are not going to stop looking at me with bulging eyes. These utterly absurd ragdoll deaths (which I swear are worse than Fallout 4’s) are not going to look better. The assets are not going to get more aesthetically pleasing.
(Aside from all the other problems with the faces of NPCs, I just can’t believe the eyes/head-tilt combo. Why do these NPCs tip their heads back in this way at all? Someone had to have said “yo Todd, we should probably stop these NPCs from doing this head tilting doom stare thing, no?” and Todd had to have been like “nah, leave it – it looks cool, players will love it.”)
Yo someone added horror music to Starfield NPCs 😂
16 times the detail LMAOO pic.twitter.com/hWfkA56PkL
— Usman (@SKizzleAXE) September 3, 2023
Of course, with more playtime, it’s possible I could find some good things about the game that I couldn’t see in a couple of hours. Most people agree that the game is totally repetitive, with the procedurally generated planets being all alike, and less interesting than the boring procedurally generated planets in No Man’s Sky. But people like the ship-building, and I saw how the guns could be pretty fun (even whilst the shooting mechanics are still very loose, despite the fact that many indie shooters feel as tight as Call of Duty in the current year – meaning this isn’t a very difficult mechanic to get right). Furthermore, I enjoyed Fallout 4 – although I would never argue it was a good game – and I’m not necessarily against a retro gaming experience.
I want to say again: I reviewed this game outside of the fact that it is totally political; every character is a girl boss, and it appears that white men have simply ceased to exist in this future they present.
Obviously, I think it is important to comment on political messaging in art, but that art should be able to be judged outside of political messaging. A few months ago, I watched Scarface, and realized that the film is aggressive communist propaganda (even though I agree with him on a lot, Oliver Stone is a communist Jew). However, it’s still a great movie. There is no specific reason that leftists can’t create good art, and I have no reason to say leftist art is bad simply because it violates my politics (that would be very intellectually dishonest). What I have found, however, is that there isn’t really any good leftist art, at least not anymore. This might overlap with the fact that it’s very big studios that are creating most leftist art, and big studios only release garbage. I don’t feel a need to definitively identify the cause and effect here. It’s just clear that all of these offensively leftist artistic endeavors are also garbage.
I have read various mainstream reviews of Starfield, and they read like parodies. I don’t even think the most staunch defenders of this game would argue that it deserves a 10/10 or a 98/100 or whatever.
The game has already sold more than 10 million copies, making it destined to enter into Wikipedia’s list of the 50 best-selling games of all time. (The bottom of that list is a tie at 23 million between God of War 1 and Red Dead Redemption 1.) It’s the biggest Bethesda launch ever. So, apparently someone likes it.
I don’t understand who likes it, other than fans of Fallout 4 who wanted more Fallout 4 content and didn’t care if it was significantly lower quality (which is exactly what this game delivers).
By the way, just to be clear – I don’t care if people like bad games. That’s a personal choice. I am just disgusted by the claims that this game is good. These reviews are on par with “trannies are real women.” This is gaslighting:
I’ve become obsessed with comparing the game’s mainstream accolades to the reviews put out by actual gamers, and I’ve found a Steam review that I found very interesting. The gamer, LXXVII, has 77 hours logged in the game, and yet comes to the same conclusion I came to in 3 hours.
Full Steam review follows.
***THIS WILL HAVE SPOILERS, THEY ARE NECESSARY FOR THE REVIEW***
This game has no soul at all. It is sterile. Corporate. Bland.
Do not take my playtime as an endorsement of this game. I wanted to finish all the questlines and spend some time in the ship creator before I wrote my review.
This game IS Fallout 4 in space. It is both graphically and in gameplay terms functionally identical. I’ve heard that Starfield spent a long time in development. I have to wonder what on earth they were spending the time on?
What I liked:
– SOME quests were OK. The writing and quest design is very inconsistent. There are a few good ones. UC Vanguard started strong but then fell off. Some Crimson Fleet quests were reminiscent of Oblivion thieves guild in their execution. That’s really about it.
– Ship designer. While the UI could use some improvements, building ships is actually fun. Its a little difficult to find who has the parts you want. I ultimately settled on Deimos and made a pretty large ship. It’s just a shame that there is really no reason to do this, other than maybe the crafting benches. New Game+ invalidates this.
-No voiced protagonist – glad they learned from that mistake.
What I disliked (where do we even begin?):
– NewGame+ makes everything pointless. The way they executed it makes every core game play loop feel awful. Why would I spend hours designing my ship if I’m going to lose it? Why would I collect any resources? Build an outpost? A player can newgame+ OR participate in these aspects of the game but not both. Also, there is really no reason to do any of the quests again because…
– Quests… They are awful. I came into this game with LOW expectations and NO hype. I thought the quests in Skyrim were lackluster in many ways. Fallout 4, very much the same. Here is an actual quest in one of the main factions. You are tasked with sabotaging a rival competitor’s newest ship in the factory. Now you MIGHT be inclined to think this would involve breaking into a building and sneaking around or persuading your way in while avoiding security robots. But no. It is quite literally, walk into the factory onto the unsecured factory floor, waltz right into this ship in construction, and then press the button. That’s it. The most challenging part was not being bored during fast travel. Here is another one. You are tasked with stealing a trophy. This trophy is made out of very precious materials. You can ONLY get this trophy if you get the keycard to the vault it is locked in. You can QUITE LITERALLY just ask the person responsible to give you their keycard via persuasion. That would be like Todd Howard persuading me to give him my wallet and social security number. This brings me to…
– The writing. Oh my lord. I am not expecting anyone’s magnum opus, but these quests and dialogue were 100% written by recent college grads or something. At no point did anyone while writing quests ask themselves what they would do in the situation. Example analogy. This is exactly what happens in the game. Imagine you are a new FBI agent. Just started yesterday. You lead an investigation where you find out the President of United States is doing some heinous crime leading to people dying. You have A PIECE of evidence. What would you do? If your answer was confront the President and his security detail directly and try to arrest him, and then kill all of them, then congratulations, you are a Bethesda writer. No option to go tell your superiors or anyone else. And when you show up and say HEY GUYS I JUST KILLED THE PRESIDENT they take a look at one piece of evidence you have and say YEAH SOUNDS GOOD HAVE A PROMOTION. Then the questline is done. WHO WROTE THIS? THIS IS JUST DUMB. I have many other examples but I won’t belabor the point. The writing is awful.
– The characters – completely forgettable. There is nothing endearing about your “friends” as the game refers to them as. Everyone is a caricature of an actual person. It’s absurd.
– The “exploration” – let’s start with space travel. Space travel is quite literally just fast travel with more clicks and menus involved. It is also redundant in many cases, because you can just fast travel directly and skip the actual flying through space. But let’s take a new location. Travelling to a new location is the following all in menus. Select star. Select planet. Select landing point. Press button. Take out the fancy UI and you could literally do it with cascading context menus. How is this acceptable in 2023 with lord knows how many years of development when other games have already conquered the space travel issue. Beyond that, the destinations themselves are bland, auto generated garbage. It’s like Todd saw radiant quests and said HOW ABOUT RADIANT MAPS? And then he did it! It’s not as if there is a lot of content the game has to pull from. Expect to see the same locations over and over. Also as an aside, expect to see the auto generated locations integrated into your main quest, because Bethesda couldn’t be bothered to make those up by hand when every quest is a fetch quest for the exact same object over and over and over.
– “Progression” – Perks are either necessary or useless. They took out core features and locked them behind perks because who knows. No attributes. Forget about the R in RPG. This is a theme park ride just shut up and keep your hands inside at all times.
If I had to sum it up, the game is just sterile. There isn’t anything interesting to do, the quests aren’t enjoyable, the combat is just a grind against spongy enemies, inventory management is awful.
It is a shame that with their time, money, and resources that this is the best they can do. They need to ditch the creation engine. It works OK for a game like Skyrim that has a large open world to traverse but it cannot do what they tried to get it to do here. It is hopelessly dated.
I do not feel like this game was worth my money or my time. I didn’t really enjoy the time I had with it, but rather saw it through to the end so that I could give it a proper evaluation and see what it had to offer. As it turns out, not much. If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it all. If you’ve landed on 2 or 3 planets, you’ve landed on all of them.
3/10 – Some fun to be had in certain parts, but slogging through the rest of it to find these just isn’t worth it. I personally believe this game is the 2nd worst game Bethesda has made, other than Fallout 76. This is not a labor of love. It is a labor of money and only money and it feels like it.